Biology Students in Action
From the classroom to the field, Adrian College biology students learn hands-on.
Learning doesn’t have to end once you walk across the stage at commencement. One of the core values of Adrian College is exemplified in its Ribbons of Excellence program through the ribbon Learning Throughout a Lifetime. Christian Wood took this ribbon to heart when she interned at a veterinary hospital over the course of a summer. Her experiences were recounted in her Ribbons of Excellence presentation, The Summer of a Lifetime: Interning at a Veterinary Hospital.
Another example of learning in the field is learning about agriculture. In this instance, the science of grafting trees. In her 2013 Ribbons of Excellence presentation, Cross-Species Grafting of Fruit Trees, Erin Bisco studied different grafting techniques used on trees. Biscoe studied species of pomme and drupe fruit trees as well as a wild cherry tree for the project—her presentation was part of an ongoing project.
Kimberly DeVore spent a summer learning about careers in the US Forest Service at the Huron Manistee National Forest in northern Michigan. She interned there in 2012, learning about well maintenance, maintaining a road system, locating artifacts (and recording, cataloging and, occasionally, collecting them), communicating with the staff, and monitoring the park to ensure safety of those in in the forest and the forest itself. Her presentation focused on the ribbon Learning Throughout a Lifetime.
Plants are an integral part in our environment. Andrew Barron looked at the functional traits of invasive shrubs to understand better the role that species played within the environment of a Michigan forest. Studying specimens collected at the Michigan International Speedway in the summer of 2012, Barron looked at the traits of multiple invasive species to see if there were similarities among the plans, or if they utilized their own unique niches. The combination of 16 native and six invasive woody plant species were collected from the Graves Campground. The presentation was under the ribbon Caring for Humanity and the World.
A group consisting of Michael Campbell, Alexander Pistilli, Joshua Gorney, Megan Vandekerkhove, Holly Mykolaitis, Ethan Maltz and Alexandria Mason looked at an African clawed frog, Xenopus lawvis, for their presentation. They are helping to create a lab to establish and organize an online anatomical atlas for other researchers and students to use in a public online informatics database. Their goals are to provide an atlas for the life spans/stages of organisms, and represent these stages in various key anatomical planes. For their work for the 2013 Ribbons of Excellence program, highlighting the ribbon Crossing Boundaries and Disciplines, they provided an update of this plan and revealed some of their current work.
The brain is perhaps one of the more widely studied organs in the human body. There is little we know about the brain, even down to the very way we remember things. This was studied for the 2013 Ribbons of Excellence presentation by Alexandria Maxson and Jennifer Eisinger. They looked at the relying synergy between memory formations from emotionally arousing stimuli (pictures, words), which causes changes in blood glucose levels. The rise and fall of blood glucose levels are directly correlated with the enhancement or decrease in memory and cognition. In their presentation, Maxson and Eisinger examined methods to examine the relationships between blood glucose and memory. Their presentation centered around the ribbon Caring for Humanity and the World.
In her abstract for her 2013 Ribbons of Excellence presentation, based on the ribbon Thinking Critically, Jordenne Ferenczi explains: “Leaf margins have been related to climate conditions, particularly temperature, and in the fossil record, have been used to predict the paleoclimate of locations based on size and number of projections from the margins, also referred to as leaf teeth.” In total, Ferenczi studied 160 leaves from forests in Michigan and Belize using Image J. The data was compared between the regions to see if correlation could be found between the climate of the areas and the leaf margins.
Most of the agriculture industry is dependent on livestock in order to keep production moving. Still, there are many plants found in southern Michigan that are toxic to many species. Kylie Witt, in her 2013 Ribbons of Excellence presentation, focused on the ribbon for Caring for Humanity and the World as she helped determine the frequency of these plants. Witt visited three sites in southeast Michigan and toxicity was determined using a library and internet search of agricultural journals and websites.
Megan Vandekerkhove examined the metaphorical structures used to debate the inclusion of abortion in health care. This project was stimulated by Vandekerkhove reading a newspaper about proposed changes to US health care and refined to researching specifically abortion. The presentation covered summary of findings when testing the persuasive effects of the “argument is war” metaphor and the metaphoric application of an assault frame in the context of the abortion coverage debate. The presentation also covered current and future research directions and practical applications of Vandekerkhove’s findings.
Invasive species are destructive to the environment—but sometimes species are planted to help control the forests, as was in the case of the forests in the Great Lakes region. Species were planted for erosion control into the forest understory. Unfortunately, there are no control measures in place on a wide-spread basis. The group of Erin Bisco, Andrew Barron and Aubrey Quinlan (Barron and Quinlan not pictured) catalogues, tagged and monitored the positions and future spread throughout the MIS Graves Campground forest. Data gained was used to plot the position of vegetation within the campground and relate position to light environment and density of growth. The presentation, under the ribbon Caring for Humanity and the World, is an ongoing project.